British APCO (BAPCO) logoHealth Warning: this scenario is fictitious and not based on any specific location in the UK. The content is put together merely as a vehicle to demonstrate how technology can be seamlessly used to assist the work of public safety responders.


Flickr: MikeBairdOldfield ‘Utility’ plant lies in the county of Northshire. It is sited at a relatively remote location with its east side bordered by the coast. There is a single (two track) road (Water Street) which provides access to and from the site. The rest of the site is surrounded by areas of natural habitat which attract bird watchers and walkers.

There are a few isolated residential properties within a ten mile radius of the site, but the nearest townships are Glyntown, twelve miles to the north west with a population of 75,000, and Thistleford, fifteen miles to the west with a population of 130,000.

During normal hours there are up to 5000 people present on site. Out of hours this figure drops to about 1800. The site contains a number of areas where hazardous materials are stored. The Site Control Room has exact records of what is kept in terms of exact location, type of material, quantities and potential impact if released.

The site is well protected in terms of both physical security and a communications infrastructure. A double fence surrounds the site, with both CCTV and sensor technology fitted. The Control Room have access to a ‘drone’ which is used for the regular site checks and to support the security team when necessary. The main road from Thistleford leads to a single access point into Oldfield which has reinforced metal gates and is staffed by security guards 24/7.

The Oldfield Security team have their own voice infrastructure to communicate with each other, onsite staff and the local police control room in Thistleford. (See appendix A for more detail).

Scenario 1 (Public to Agency)

At 1000 hrs reports start to filter in of some suspicious activity in the east Northshire area.

Oldfield security has sensor alarm data indicating activity around the perimeter fence from the east (coastal side). CCTV feeds show a number of vessels on the beach with about 25-30 people dressed in dark clothing and balaclavas. They appear to be carrying a mixture of rucksacks and larger bags.

Oldfield security staff are deployed to various locations both inside and outside of the perimeter fence to try and establish who the people are and what they are doing. In line with normal operating procedures they inform Northshire police, although assistance would only be sought if necessary.

At the same time, Northshire Police begin to take a number of 999/101 calls from walkers and bird watchers who are near the site. They report the same activity that is being picked up by the Oldfield team. As the Oldfield team are already aware of the activity, police take no further action at this time.

At 1007 the CCTV operator from Thistleford Council alerts the police control room to a large armoured truck that is driving down the high street at some speed. The truck appears to be colliding with anything that gets in the way causing a number of vehicle telematics systems to activate and alert the emergency services (some via ambulance where there are injuries involved). The truck appears to contain a number of people who are also wearing balaclavas. Police and Council also have technical links between the CCTV monitoring centre and police control room (See Appendix A).

A number of 999/101 calls are received in relation to the truck, and there is also an amount of activity across social media channels with comments and associated pictures.

Police begin to deploy resources, including the Armed Response Vehicles. Unarmed officers are strategically placed to report sightings of the vehicle while the ARVs are able to get to a position to attempt to stop the truck. This will take some 25 minutes as one ARV is a number of miles away.

Sightings of the vehicle through both police resources and public reporting indicate that the vehicle is now on Water Street approaching the Oldfield site.

At 1016 Oldfield Control contact police to request assistance as a number of security guards have been injured by the intruders and access has now been gained by them on to site. Four minutes later there is a report of an explosion on Water Street and the main communications infrastructure is severed between Oldfield and the rest of Northshire. All internal Oldfield systems remain functioning.

The armoured truck continues its journey along Water Street and at the Oldfield entrance crashes through the security gates. There are reports of a further larger explosion with sightings of a large cloud of grey smoke appearing over the site and travelling west.

This scenario aims to demonstrate and describe how technology could be used to provide fast, accurate and contextual information to the emergency services in the emerging stages of the event. This would include integration into command and control (including visual display on GIS) of:

  • Sensor technology
  • CCTV/Facial recognition
  • Vehicle telematics
  • Social media
  • SMS text
  • Voice (from 999/101 calls, radio transmissions etc.)
  • RMS systems – PNC, intelligence records medical records HazChem risk assessments, site plans etc.)
  • Benefits of migration to broadband technology.
  • Link to MAIT and NG999 work underway

Scenario 2 (Agency to Agency)

Some Northshire Police resources are now on site at Oldfield but in view of the plume of smoke, the site has been quarantined until it can be established what the material is.

The Air Support Team has been deployed but has only been able to get a limited view of the site. Fires are visible and the armoured truck appears to be significantly damaged. The Oldfield drone is able to fly more flexibly to gather information and the locations of both explosions are pinpointed. It is believed that the truck was used as the IED for the second explosions.

The first explosion occurred outside the actual site and targeted the communications and power infrastructure. The communications severance means that there is no connectivity between Oldfield and the rest of Northshire, although communications remain in place within Oldfield itself.

The second was on site and has detonated a store room containing toxic materials. Advice is to tell people within a twenty mile radius (especially within the centre of the plume) to stay inside and shut all windows and doors. (Scenario 3 will cover the Warning and Informing aspect)

It has been established that a number of people have been injured on site, two seriously. There are on site medical resources, but Northshire Ambulances are being held at an RVP some four miles away. Northshire Fire & Rescue are also held at the RVP although there is some capability on the Oldfield site for firefighting.

The plume of smoke is heading directly west towards Glyntown and expected to be overhead of the main residential area within the next 45 minutes.

This scenario aims to demonstrate and describe how technology could be used to enable effective interoperability between the public safety responder agencies during the main response phase of the operation. This would include:

  • Sharing voice and data information between police, fire, ambulance and coastguard in an emergency capacity
  • Sharing information with the wider public safety response community (Local Authorities, Environment Agency, Met Office, Highways Agency etc.)
  • Providing situational awareness to and from resources on the ground
  • Enabling an effective ‘Common Operational Picture’ to be available to all agencies and Gold, Silver and Bronze level in terms of both resources availability and the scene itself
  • Providing ‘expertise’ from offsite resources to on site staff (e.g. medical or HazChem awareness)
  • Scaling up resources effectively including use of the voluntary sector
  • Demonstrating tasking, messaging, briefing, real time reviewing, auditing and data storing capability in relation to the event.
  • Link to MAIT programme
  • Benefits of migration to broadband technology.

Scenario 3 (Agency to Public)

Emergency services have been able to restore communications connectivity with Oldfield and some staff have been able to access the site (with protective clothing) to assist the staff.

Other agencies (e.g. Northshire County Council, Thistleford and Glyntown District Councils, Environment Agency, local Health Authority) are now involved and a Strategic Coordinating group has been set up.

All agencies are receiving requester for information from the general public and media. Information needs to be provided to a number of different parties for a number of different reasons. These include:

  • Public around the immediate vicinity of Oldfield (walkers and birdwatchers etc.) who may be already affected by the plume
  • Public in and around Glyntown who may become affected if the plume continues the predicted course
  • Public in and around Thistleford who could become affected if the plume changes course
  • Local, national and international media
  • Friends and relatives of potential casualties of the attack
  • People wishing to help

This scenario aims to demonstrate and describe how technology can be used to enable mechanisms to be put in place which will enable public safety agencies to warn and inform the public in timely and appropriate ways. This would include:

  • Information which needs to be disseminated very quickly (e.g. by Control room staff or staff on the ground)
  • Information which can be disseminated in ‘slower time’ (generally through a corporate communications team within one or more of the agencies involved)
  • Potential mechanisms to communicate – social media, TV & Radio, automatic alerts (sirens), websites, cell broadcasting and SMS, apps etc.
  • What mechanisms could be automated through technology and what would require the human factor.

Appendix A
Existing technology – which the showcase should change!

Oldfield Control room

  • Tetra radio – own talk groups and access to Multiagency talk groups
  • On site internal VHF/UHF voice system
  • Command and Control system (‘DEIT’ link to Northshire Police)
  • CCTV coverage across the site with a monitoring station in the site control room. Ability to push pictures through to Northshire Police.
  • Sensor technology able to pick up abnormal activity outside the perimeter fence which compliments the CCTV coverage.
  • Dual telephony system (for internal use and resilience) – both IP and copper wired

Northshire Police control room

  • Tetra radio – as above
  • Command and Control (different supplier but as above)
  • Live video feed capability from Thistleford Council CCTV
  • IP telephony system for internal and non-999 calls; analogue PABX for 999 calls
  • Limited monitoring and of social media – feeds out mainly from the Corporate Communications department
  • Deaf SMS access via 999 – otherwise standalone mobile phone to send and receive SMS.
  • Some mobile data capability for staff on the ground
  • Phone links to fire and ambulance via hot key
  • Contact with Coastguard via 999 or non-emergency number
  • Contact with other agencies via normal landlines

Thistleford Council Monitoring Centre

  • Tetra radio – as above
  • VHF/UHF voice system to connect with town centre (security, shopwatch etc.)
  • Facial recognition capability within CCTV
  • 40 CCTV cameras covering the town centre and main roads into and out of Thistleford.
  • Council staff have mobile telephones to connect only (emergency planning team have access to Tetra).

Other agencies to consider

  • Ambulance – Northwise Trust covers Northshire and two other adjacent counties
    • Control room in an adjacent county
    • Tetra – mainly used for point to point
    • Mobile data capability for incident data transfer and some patient record information
    • AVLS
    • Phone links to police and fire via hot key
    • Contact with other agencies as per police set up above
  • Fire & Rescue – co-terminus with Police
    • Control room in Thistleford (different location to police)
    • Phone links to police and ambulance via hot key
    • Contact with other agencies as per police set above
  • Highways Agency
  • Environment Agency
  • Maritime And Coastguard Agency
  • Northshire County Council
  • Thistleford and Glyntown District Councils
BAPCO 2014 Supersession Scenarios
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